The work of New York-based band Occurrence exists outside any currents fashions or claimable trends -- its patterns and rhythms reject easy recognition in favor of something far more impressionistic. Blending a wiry brew of warbling electronics, fiery post-punk swagger and subtly mutated pop arrangements, the group lingers on the fringes of a handful of genres without committing their creative weight to any single rhythmic approach. Led by playwright-multi-instrumentalist Ken Urban, and featuring the expressive vocal talents of Cat Hollyer and Johnny Hager, Occurrence is more than the sum of its admittedly considerable parts; the band reflects both an internal perspective formed from the viewpoints of each of its members and an external mirror that casts a light on many social inequalities and injustices that play across their collective consciousness.
After the release of their last record, 2016's "The Past Will Last Forever" (which was recorded when the band was still just a duo), Urban and Hollyer brought on Hager to add his particular sense of purpose and melodic drive to the group. And where that album was recorded by Urban and Hollyer through Dropbox files and long-distance collaborations, their forthcoming record, "Everyone Knows the Disaster Is Coming," was recorded at The Berkshire Arms, the band's studio in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Due out June 15, it explores a thrumming electronic landscape of intense personal introspection, sexual exploration and political indignation. At turns vicious and mournful, the songs are vivid and unfiltered in their desire for change and understanding.
Recorded and produced by Urban, the album clings to the throbbing electronic tendencies of past releases while also carving out a unique and refreshingly integrated musical headspace. It was mixed and mastered by Matt Saunders (who records as Assembled Minds) at 808Hz Studio in rural Sherborne, UK and mastered by Grammy-nominated audio engineer Jessica Thompson at NEATO Studios in Berkeley, CA. Some additional programming was done by Daniel Kluger. And through their exceptional work, "Everyone Knows the Disaster Is Coming" investigates the darker, craggy emotional places that, more often than not, we'd prefer not to acknowledge and forces us to accept our responsibility in eliciting social adaptation.
For our initial glimpse into its dense depths, the band has shared the first single called "All of Your Devils," and it's a ragged, accusatory piece of circuital barbarism that feels altogether necessary and relevant at a time when so many people tend to overlook the importance of addressing our fears. The track opens with booming percussive eruptions and ecstatic electronics, which are then quickly followed by Hollyer's persuasive lyrical insights. Offering such pointed evocations as “All of your devils are here/I thought you invited them/Why would you want them here?/What use are they to you?,” Hollyer doesn't suffer indecision or ignorance and effortlessly explores the communal nightmare of facing our darkest terrors.
The song evokes the electronic maximalism of techno icons The Chemical Brothers at times but withholds just enough to keep you guessing as to its ultimate destination. There's an assumption of conversation here, as Hollyer waits for our reply to her rhythmic missive. "All of Your Devils" is boisterous but never self-indulgent, while also finding subtlety in the midst of these loud, crashing noises. And even though the band is dealing with some fairly weighted themes here, the track never feels distant, heavy-handed or overly cultivated. It always acclimates to our field of vision, widening our perspective slowly, allowing our senses to grow accustomed to its vast canyons and darkened spaces.